The Silver Pen goes to … |

The Silver Pen goes to …

The Aspen Times Editorial Board chose Brad Benson’s letter of Sept. 19 as the recipient of the Silver Pen Award for September. Editorial board members made these comments: “This captures a prevailing sense among workers ” construction workers in particular ” that they’re unwanted in Aspen. He’s just a guy trying to make an honest living and the city seems to throw up one roadblock after another.” A number of us liked Benson’s style, saying, “I like the use of humor in this letter. It’s great that he used specific examples and was very clear about his complaints.”

There was also this: “He expressed the frustration we all feel about government bureaucracy. You want to scream, ‘Hey, don’t you work for us?’ Instead, he kept a sense of humor and wrote a letter!”

To compete for the monthly Silver Pen award, simply write a

letter to the editor and e-mail it to, or mail it to 310 E. Main St., Aspen, CO 81611.

And now, Benson’s letter:

Dear Editor:

There are so many hoops to jump through to get a building permit these days that it makes me want to get completely out of the hoop-jumping business. I may not even renew my hoop-jumping license next year.

I went to City Hall to try to submit a couple of permit applications for minuscule jobs that are intended to make a couple of basements safer. To do this, you have to make an appointment to turn it in, and may have to wait a couple of weeks for that appointment. (I have to thank Tony for finding a spot for me this week.) If, at your appointment, your stack of papers doesn’t weigh 23 pounds, you have to fill out more forms until you reach the desired paper volume. The poor building department employees are up to their eyeballs in paperwork trying to enforce the city’s plethora of rules. Needless to say, I left City Hall frustrated.

Frustration turned to pure outrage upon finding Mayor Mick’s cute little car taking up a free space behind City Hall. Had he left his vehicle at home like he wants the rest of the world to do or utilized his beloved paid parking program, that spot would have been available for its intended use ” to allow citizens like me to complete their business at City Hall without having to drive around, find a space on the street and pay for it, just to run in to City Hall to drop off 23 pounds of paper. I think the mayor owes me 50 cents, and something for my pain and suffering caused by the whole process! People that park in glass garages …

Brad Benson